George Ferencz, a prominent Off-Broadway director for decades, passed away on September 14 after succumbing to his illness. The famous Off-Broadway director was best known for directing works by the likes of Amiri Baraka, Aishah Rahman, and Sam Shepard. Sally Lesser, his wife of 35 years and a three-time Emmy-winning costume designer announced the news today, according to Deadline. They had collaborated on over 65 theater productions. He was 74 at the time of his passing.
George’s Early Life
George Ferencz was born back on February 3, 1947 to George and Ann Ferencz in Cleveland, Ohio. Ferencz was the oldest of 6 children. At a very early age, he wanted to be a writer, so much so that he was the editor of the school newspaper at Padua High, an all-boys school. After high school, he attended Kent State University and earned his degree in theatre, then promptly moved to New York in 1970 where he started to be tutored by director Gene Frankel and then Carl Weber. Ferencz started writing, producing, and directing youth theatre performances that would tour along the east coast. The Huckleberry Hound All-Star Review was the first of his productions to garner professional reviews.
At The Dim Cracker Party Convention, Boy and Tarzan Appear in A Clearing, Cowboy Mouth, Mad Dog Blues, Money, A Jazz Opera Melodrama Play, Shep in Rep, Slave Ship are merely a handful of the many many plays this famous Off-Broadway director helped bring to life on the stage. He even taught directing at Columbia for 15 years and taught at Kent State, his alma mater.
Longtime friend Ray Wise spoke about the impact Ferencz had left on him:
George reawakened the actor in me and set me on a path that I still follow today.”
George Ferencz is survived by his wife Sally Lesser and their son, Jack Ferencz.